What's Good Weekly

It’s been tough to think of anything but Lyle Skolnick this week.

Unexpectedly losing a beloved friend and coworker has thrown me for a loop, so I’ve been mostly ignoring more Goop nonsense and people snorting chocolate.

Instead, I spent a long time writing a tribute to him on Facebook. And our whole team (plus what seemed like 300 other people who loved him) crammed under a few tarps at his brother’s house for a moving memorial service punctuated by pounding rain.

Lyle was full of wisdom. He cared about the small things. He seemed fueled by giving to others. He loved some light-hearted trash talk (it humbled people, but at the same time, affirmed they were important enough to have funny things about them noticed in the first place).

Ugh, he was just the best. And I still can’t believe he’s gone.

Life is too short.

Lyle came to work at Greatist because, after a year and a half of fighting cancer (and not for the first time), he finally wanted to work somewhere that would be good for him. That wouldn’t run him ragged. That would encourage him to make better decisions surrounded by others trying to do the same thing.

He loved to Citi Bike everywhere. I swear I saw him eat salads for lunch sometimes. He wanted to win every friendly fitness competition. He also once bought ice cream sandwiches from around the corner and brought them into the office just cause.

These are small things, sure. But he could just as well have ignored what made him really feel good and embraced the many things that really didn’t. Instead, he kept going and fought on. He wanted to enjoy the time he had fully and wholeheartedly. He wanted as many moments as he could get.

Life is too short.

My therapist said grief is different for everyone, that what it’s really about is listening to your body and what you need.

Taking care of myself is something I’ve always struggled with, but I’m working to get better.

The day after Lyle passed away, I woke up a little later than usual, went to the gym, and then finally tackled last week’s Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle. It was the right thing for me: listening to myself, acknowledging I wasn’t ready for work first thing in the morning despite wanting to be there for everyone on the team, embracing a workout because of how much better it would make me feel (without using an excuse to get out of it), and indulging in something I unabashedly love without any rush. (I’m not saying everyone should do the crossword puzzle, obviously. Anything weird you’re into is cool, unless it’s Sudoku.)

Of course, I could have drunk too much beer (I thought about it). I could have loaded up on Sour Power Straws (I went out of my way to walk by the bodega, then changed my mind). I could have stayed up late and eaten too much cereal (we even have Cocoa Puffs!).

This time I didn’t.

Life is too short.

If there’s a silver lining from experiencing this grief and if there’s one more thing we can learn from Lyle, it’s how important listening to what YOU really need is to living a life worth living.

That life may not be what you think at first. It may be another glass of wine or not. It may be eating an ice cream sandwich or five. It may be giving in to YOLO or poking fun at YOLO. It may be biking to your next destination or catching an Uber. It may be taking a morning off because your mental health demands it or going to work early for the exact same reason. Whatever it is, make it count.

Life is too short.

Here’s my puppy of the week: